Autumn 2014

Heerema Fabrication Group opts for TenCate fabrics

For the past year employees of Heerema Fabrication Group have been wearing work clothing based on the latest fabrics from the TenCate Tecapro® collection. Protection is paramount at this company. Developments in the market are followed closely. ‘If TenCate has developed a new fabric, we’d like to try it out.’

Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) specializes in the engineering and manufacture of large and complex structures for the offshore oil & gas and energy industry. It has a number of operations including those in the Netherlands (Zwijndrecht and Vlissingen), Poland and the UK and it employs a total of 2,000 people. Almost a half year ago the company switched to the new clothing based on TenCate Tecapro®. This fabric is the appropriate solution for shipbuilding and the metal industry. TenCate Tecapro® protects grinders and welders against for example splashes from molten metal, sparks and chemical splashes. The clothing was made by Van Ochten Bedrijfskleding B.V. The logistical service is provided entirely by Wijngaarden VeiligGoed (WVG). Both parties proactively submitted the new fabric to HFG. After all they want the very best for their customers.

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WVG, which also supplies the new TenCate Tecapro® to other end-users, is delighted with the quality. ‘It feels more flexible and holes develop in the fabric less quickly during welding than in the previous clothing.’ Jan van Ochten agrees with him. ‘TenCate Tecapro® is a fine cloth, which has been successfully launched on the market, in part through our contribution.’
The first reactions at Heerema Fabrication Group are equally positive: employees find the fit better and the fabrics more flexible and more comfortable. A gradual transition to the new clothing is now in progress. All four operations will be supplied, with the sites at Zwijndrecht and Vlissingen taking 6,000 garments a year.

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Johan Stander (left) and Henrie van Gameren were involved in Heerema Fabrication Group’s choice of personal protective equipment and thus of TenCate Tecapro®: Johan Stander as safety, health & environment manager, Henrie van Gameren as senior buyer. Every Heerema Fabrication Group employee is required to wear safety clothing on the shop floor. The operational workers have an overall, the office workers a two-piece garment. Heat, fire and metal splashes are the greatest risks during operations, they explain. The same applies to working in explosive zones, where antistatic clothing is required. The previous clothing, also based on TenCate Tecapro®, guaranteed these aspects too, but the new clothing, in addition to protection, gives even better wearing comfort. This is due to the satin weave and a special, permanent Comfort-Control Finish. As a result the fabric feels more flexible and is more pleasant to wear. So Heerema Fabrication Group has been an end-user of TenCate fabrics for longer and in this case opted for the next innovation.

Changes in standards, legislation and regulations play a role in the purchase and changing of work clothing. The same applies to developments at the fabric supplier.Another aspect that is important to Heerema Fabrication Group is reliability of delivery: supplying a constant quality and guaranteeing availability. This is due to the project-based nature of the activities. ‘Our process simply is an erratic one’, they both explain. ‘We have permanent staff, temporary employees and subcontractors. Our basic workforce in Zwijndrecht is 200 to 250 people. When projects come in, we upcrew to 600 to 700 and sometimes even 800. You can’t predict it. It is thus difficult in terms of sizes and quantities.’ It is even difficult to keep stocks ourselves: not only due to numbers, but also in view of the sizes of temporary personnel. It is precisely the added link through Wijngaarden  VeiligGoed that has for many a year satisfied this unpredictable need. When there are great differences in sizes the clothing must also be rapidly available.

Henrie van Gameren and Johan Stander not only like to stay abreast of new developments at their suppliers. ‘We like to ask our suppliers which materials we should use for the best result. How can we jointly improve the clothing? If TenCate has developed a new fabric, we would like to try it out.’

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)